Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my need to post pictures finally overcame my laziness.

jackie, anthony, melika, and heidi on the river

fab five doing it big on the river
thomas, jackie, heidi, anthony, cayla

blanca, the beautiful and super smart 2 year old we live with
we love her.

so so so so delicious, one of the best dishes i´ve had in spain.

flamenco show en una cueva

alex, jackie, heidi, cayla
overlookign the alhambra at night!

cayla and thomas
just having fun :)

paco, fran, heidi
at the botellón on her birthday!

the alhambra by day

the alhambra by night

crazy spanish people we met in granada...
an orgasmo is a drink by the way (so, so delicious)
a drink and a tapa for only 2 euro!

blanca and cayla
flamenco dancing in the living room!

heidi falling off of the cliff in portugal
just kidding :)

sunset in portugal

the beach in portugal, so beautiful
sitting on the cliff in portugal

more to come! we've already taken over a thousand pictures

Do you live in Portuguese?

So, if you had the choice, would you be in class with an air conditioner that doesn't work or at the beach swimming in the ocean and getting tan?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

So with this in mind, Heidi and I decided to skip a Friday of class and go to Lagos, Portugal with this group called DiscoverSevilla. Let me tell you, it was the best decision we have made this whole trip. We left Friday afternoon around 3 PM and took a bus. We went with a smaller group- there was probably about 25 of us from the program. It's about 3 hours because we stopped, so we got to the hotel around 6 with time to get settled...we roomed in 4 bed room with our friends Jackie and Thomas. At 8, we went to go see the sunset at "the end of the world", this lookout point (aka a cliff) where people thought the world ended before they knew the world was round. It was so beautiful, so unbelievably amazing. It is literally one of the top five images I have ever seen in my life. It was so cold where we were and we both forgot to bring jackets so that was a little uncomfortable (aka stupid on our part) but it was so worth it.

That night we went to this amazing burger place called Na Na something and it was SO delicious! And it was right in the middle of the downtown area, so we went to some bars there. But we were kind of tired from the night before so we headed back to our hotel kind of early where Jackie and Thomas decided to be scientists and spent around 3 hours working on an experiment (fail)...although it was definitely entertaining.

The next morning we got up and headed out to a sangria boat, where we cruised around, drank sangria, and went into the little mini coves in the cliffs, which was so fun! You would think that boats and drinking do not really mix, but they do! When it's sangria, anyway. We played music, danced on the deck, and jumped into the ocean. So salty! You could literally feel the salt on your body...very odd. BUT the highlight of the boat ride was when we were heading back and we saw a pack of dolphins in the water! They said that it has never happened before, ¡qué suerte! Luckily one of our tour guides had a camera on him (I didn't bring a camera in case it got wet) and was able to videorecord them! So we will try to post that sometime.

Then we just spent the next couple of days at the beach, getting tan and swimming. There were no waves at the beach we were at, which was kind of surprising! But the water was pristine and the views were so amazing. You would'nt belive how hot the sand gets though! My feet were toasted. We played some games at the beach and unfortunately, I broke one of my was pretty terrible. I was limping (yes, I was being a baby). But you know what helps that? A little bit of alcohol! Of course we went out and experienced some night life in Lagos, súper chulo! Because it is kind of a tourist town, there were a ton of different types of people there so it was easy to find people who spoke Spanish and English.

To keep the code of "what happens in Europe, stays in Europe", I won't tell any stories, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to give you a little taste... one of my friends may or may not have thought that a dog was walking on water (Jesus style), when really it was just walking in the water, and he/she may or may not have tried to call it, yelling "Jack Russell, Jack Russell" and then ran away because apparently it "caught a fish" in the water. Or maybe one of my friends had a conversation in Portuguese with several Portuguese people although he/she doesn't speak Portuguese and maybe asked a cab driver "do you live in Portuguese", then proceeding to sing Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears on the way back, apparently impersonating Lady Gaga at the same time...yes, Europeans obvi love us.

Next stop: Cádiz and some more of Sevilla!

Note: One thing I am really missing is cold milk. Everywhere we have traveled has had warm milk with cereal, hot milk with dinner, YUCK. This is the girl that drinks milk with every dinner, and lots of it. Cannot wait to get home to have a nice, juicy steak with cold milk, mashed potatoes, and some corn on the cob (hint hint Mom and Dad)!

Also, shout out to our sister Jena, thanks for the postcard, it was so cute...we miss Fillenwarth! and you too, of course :)

Love you all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apparently security is pretty tight in Spain.

During our first week in Spain, we did the usual, tested into classes (Heidi got intermediate, I got advanced) and started classes. Our earliest class is at one, so we have definitely taken advantage of nightlife in Sevilla, to say the least. We basically have class from 1-8 pm every day, so we unfortunately cannot take much advantage of siesta here, which is the saddest thing. However usually when we come home from school we sleep for about an hour before we eat at 9:30 PM. Then we go out, and so far we have been coming in around 4 am every night, sleep for 5 hours, get breakfast, sleep for another 2 or 3 hours, and then head to school to sleep more to study. If it sounds like it is tiring, it is, AND I cannot believe I forgot to mention this, but Heidi and I have not bought any coffee since we have been in Sevilla. None. Zip. Zero. We get a baby cup of café con leche in the mornings, but that is it. How are we surviving? No sé...but now that I am talking about it, I am really craving some. Maybe I will have to go to one of about 3 Starbucks in all of Sevilla and treat myself to something yummy. :)

Our first weekend in Sevilla, we had an excursion to Córdoba and Granada. We went to Córdoba first to see the Mesquita, which was so impressive! All of the architecture in it was so amazing, especially the red arches that could be found throughout the whole of the building. Also, we went into this room that was filled only with silver and gold, and I'm pretty sure our tour guide said that room was worth more than my life (so apparently it must be worth more than everything in the world combined, because you know I'm priceless! Wink wink, I know you all miss my humor). The only thing that was not fun was the heat- I was sweating so much my face was shiny like I had just dipped my face in water. N-A-S-T-Y! And the gypsies - or los gitanos- were incredible there, so many trying to give you rosemary "as a gift", and if you take it from them, you have to pay for it! Luckily Heidi and I were able to get by without any close encounters (they were probably scared of approaching Asians). 

Side note: on our way to the bus in the morning, Heidi's shoe broke. No, I'm not talking about a strap, or a buckle, no. Heidi tripped and broke off the ENTIRE HEEL. How does that happen? Well, that's what she gets for buying crap Miley Cyrus shoes. Oh well, she can just wear the other pair of...nope. We thought we'd be "smart" and only have one pair of shoes each so that we could save baggage space. Did we have time to run back? Haha, since when do Heidi and I ever have any extra time? So we thought, we'll just buy a pair of shoes when we get to Córdoba...except that we were forever away from any shopping areas. For anyone who knows Heidi, she cannot handle being uncomfortable ever for very long, so I decided to wear the shoes until we could find them, which was only 9 HOURS later. No big deal, my feet didn't burn/turn black from the burning hot stones at all...(Heidi owes me. Big.)

Heidi and I walked around after our tour with our friends Angelique and Elaina, where we saw people coming out of a wedding- so cute! Can you imagine getting married in a church that is hundreds and hundreds of years old??! All of the women wear headpieces, whether it be a huge headband, a hat, or one of those baby hats that you put on the side of your head. All of the men were wearing tuxedos, but FASHION ALERT: some men were wearing white shirts, black jackets, and colored pants. What? Yeah. By colors, I'm talking like coral-colored pants. If the men wearing them hadn't been so hot, I'm not sure I would've been able to keep myself from laughing. Can't wait til that trend hits the States...

After our visit to the Mesquita, we rode the bus to Granada, where we saw an amazing flamenco show in una cueva. One of the women was like 80 years old and danced with the castañuelas and it was beautiful! They danced with such grace, but also so much passion. We saw a night view of the Alhambra, which was crazy because it looks so huge against the night sky and all the stars...but it was a serious walk up to see it. Of course that night we went out and had a great time because there are free tapas with every drink you get in Granada, so yummy :) we had these little baby hamburgers with steak fries and these toasted bread pieces with potatos and meat...literally one of the most delicious things I have eaten in Spain. We watched the USA vs. Spain soccer friendly in a bar- needless to say, the Spanish were basically laughing in our faces and it was slightly embarassing. There was this group of handball players at the bar who were singing and dancing and being totally out of control trying to talk to us and get us to hang out with them. Um, no gracias. Then we went to this discoteca which was basically an ISA party with 1 Euro Sangria, yumm! Around 3, we headed to this last discoteca that apparently doesn't get anyone until 4 AM, and I had one of my more memorable Spanish conversations with the bouncers at the club...apparently I thought I was fluent (why does this seem to happen only when I am drunk?) and was holding a seriously loud conversation about liars...yeah. But got back to the hotel around 5:30 AM, luck was apparently on my side that night.  

Heidi had to drag me out of bed aroun 8:30 AM (yikes, don't ask me how I was feeling) and went to visit the Alhambra in the light, which was just as huge as it looked at night. So many different types of architecture, which these really beautiful gardens full of orange trees. The view from the gardens overlooking the city was seriously breathtaking (yes I realize I am cheesing here but that is literally the only palabra I can think of to describe it). My friend Anthony, who was in a worse state than I was if you can believe it, definitely stole an orange from one of those trees...rumor has it he also tried to sneak into our tour group and got caught at a security point with the guards running up to yell at him not to pass... no big deal. :)

We grabbed some more free tapas at this cute little restaurant by our hotel; I tried the lasagna but was kind of disappointed by it, sadly. That is the one thing I am looking most forward to in Italy- the pasta!! So then we headed back to Sevilla after lunch, where Heidi and I passed out for about 14 hours. Oh, living the life :) But now we are getting so close to getting caught up!! Next post, more Sevilla and our trip to Lagos, Portugal!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sevilla, la ciudad más bonita del mundo

Let me just say...

Sevilla is the most beautiful city in Spain. I am serious! People always talk about the coast, which is so beautiful, but Sevilla is...tan preciosa como nada. That´s right, a little Spanish there for you all to Google-translate. :) When we arrived, we basically pulled into the city after an eight hour bus ride and met our homestay mother, Maribel. She is the cutest thing! She was so nice and let us take a taxi back to our homestay since we had a TON of luggage and she did not think we could carry all (truth). We share a room in the flat, which is about the size of a regular room in the States. It is actually really a great apartment because 1) we are only about 15 minutes away from school walking and 2)we are in the basement of the building, so it generally stays pretty cool where we are even though outside our window its 100 degrees (Fahrenheit, I haven´t quite figured out Celsius yet...). We have the cutest 2 year old girl with us named Blanca (Maribel's daugther, Eva, is her mother who also lives in the house), and she is the smartest 2 year old we have ever seen. ¿En serio? ¡Sí! - she speaks and understands almost everything anyone says. She loves to dance flamenco while we sing and clap for her. Heidi and I are currently teaching her how to count in English, so hopefully she can count and do her ABCs before we leave.  We also have two very cute, nice brothers in our house, Antonio and Miguel. As we spend more time together, it begins to feel more and more normal to be in the house. :)

One of the absolute best things about Europe and Sevilla in particular is that you can walk anywhere. We live in el centro in Sevilla, so we have access to almost everything. The longest we are usually walking is like 50 minutes...yes, I know that no one is going to believe we walk that far in one go, but we are CHANGED WOMEN (or so we are saying)! To all you States people that seems like a long time, but here it goes by so fast because everyone else is walking too. Heidi and I always leave to go out around 11, and I swear, between the time we leave school (8 PM) to the time we go out, the population increases by 5x. So many people are out late...I love it! It's so warm outside anyway, everyone stands in the streets and talks. On Thursdays in Sevilla, there is what is called a botellón, where young people gather in the same plaza to drink Cruzcampo (the beer of choice here) outside, talk, and The first time we went, there were probably around 250 people in the plaza...and no shortage of cute boys. Hey Prez Obama, this is one law that should get changed back in the States. :)

The driving, however, is terrible. Omaha people, you are so, so lucky, you have no idea. You'd think pedestrians would have the right of way, correct? ¡No, aquí no! If you are in the way of a car, prepare to get squashed. They stop for no one, so you better get on a sidewalk (if there even is a sidewalk). Heidi, being so hotheaded, gives all the drivers dirty looks as they drive by, especially this one that drove into a puddle purposely (or so she says) to splash water all over her (I may or may not have laughed at her...but those of you know know me probably already know the answer). The availabily of taxis is amazing, though. The only time we really take taxis is at night when we are far from home, but it is so fast- there are taxis on literally every corner in el centro. They always seem surprised that the Americans can speak Spanish, or that I am even American...

The food has been surprisingly good, although I think Heidi could do without the fish. We have this really yummy thing called tortilla de patata that is not an actual tortilla like we usually think of's more like a pancake. But it is super delicious. For breakfast, Heidi and I have become obsessed with toasted baguette plus olive oil and salt, SO GOOD! The first morning we were here, our señora Maribel told us to try it, so we did mostly out of politeness, but to our surprise we love it! Basically the only reason we get up before noon is to have this breakfast. We still miss food from the States (if you even say the word Applebee's or steak my mouth starts to water) but it is not as bad as we were thinking it would be. While we don't drink alcohol in our homestay, most people on the streets are drinking beer or sangria with every meal. It's pretty amazing, to be perfectly honest, although my professor said that people in Spain are able to accomplish more because they are always relaxed and that Americans think they get more done but really they are just uptight and cannot get anything done after about 2:30 in the afternoon. True? Not true? Not sure, to be honest. I suppose we will see...

So this has been a really terribly long post, so I will leave it here. :) I know we have so much to say, but it is hard to make time because we are always so busy doing stuff! ¡Amor de Sevilla a nuestra familia y nuestros amigos!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


thought we would finally treat our great followers with some pictures of our adventures. i will be sure to post more, but there are the ones i could get on right now! love you and miss you all.

on a cliff in portugal watching the sunset

laying next to our rooftop pool in lagos after a day at the beach

la alhambra!

in granada

on the sangria boat checking out the grottos and seeing a pack of wild dolphins, no big deal :)
- yes, heidi has an alcoholic drink in her hand. cheers to the EU!

on the cliff!

night out in Sevilla with new friends

out on calle betis! side note: while we were at this bar, these two guys got into a huge fight next to heidi and me and got thrown out of the bar, where they continued to punch each other. it was crazy!

waiting for the flamenco show

checking out the sites in Sevilla!

hopefully I will post again later today about more our adventures in Sevilla. we are loving  of the most amazing cities i have ever been in.

love, your favorite asian sisters!

ps- jena and mom, since you guys skyped us with those FHs, you better be sending us some!! :) just joking, of course.

pss- to all our friends in omaha, hope the CWS is awesome this year!!

psss- to all of our european readers, heidi and i tried doner kebab for the first time in europe. um, so. amazing. so, to those we are visiting in Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, please have some ready for us!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

´´Para dos? Sí.´´- Madrid y Toledo!

...Madrid! Spain, finally.

So we get off of the plane and it is finally feeling real that we won't be reading or speaking much English for the next five weeks. We get our stuff off of the plane and we are little confused as to where to go to get our luggage, but we kind of just followed the crowd. So we are standing at the conveyor belt, as the luggage goes by and its not ours...and some more goes by and its not ours...wait a second, isn't that that pink bag we saw earlier? Heidi started to hyperventilate just a little bit, but we decided to just wait it out and see. Nope- no baggage. I think we may have been sweating or freaking out, maybe all of the above. Then we realized- wait a second, are all of these people still waiting? Yes, and finally our luggage did come through, and for the first time this trip, we are smart enough to get a trolley for our 6 bags of luggage- yes, I said six. This is not a joke- don't ask me how we are going to lug it all around Europe yet. Thats TBD.

We get to the table to ask for directions and we decide to take this hotel bus. As we get on the bus, Heidi speaks to the driver and we get on. As it starts moving, she turns to me and says, "I just had my first Spanish conversation!! ¿Para dos?¡Sí!" Yes, she was apprently really  excited about it. Anyway, we get to our hotel which is AMAZING (NH Nacional in case you ever want to go there) and we went out to eat with a couple of other girls from our program that got in a night early, Sam and Lauren. Now, in case you don't know much about Spain, their eating schedule is way different than ours- dinner is at 9 or 10 at night. Too late for us, so we went and ate around 6 PM and there was just no one in the restaurant. I had some paella which was really good :) but there is a serious lack of spicy foods in Spain, which is terrible for Heidi and me. Mom, send us some Flamin' Hot Cheetos if you are reading this!! ;)

The next day, we met up with our ISA group and got all the basic info and what not but you really don't want to know about all the boring details. We went out later that night with some new friends we made, and it was just amazing fun! On the first Saturday, we finally got around to some sightseeing, including the Reina Sophia museum which was amazing, lots of Miró y Dali. We then went to the Catedral in Madrid, which was so impressive- so many huge rooms with the most intricate designs!! Gold, silver, silk tapestries...I can't explain how great it was, but I still need to figure out how to post pictures...hopefully soon! Of course, we went out later the night for some more fun, more drinks, more Spain :) We walked all the way to Plaza Nueva (bear in mind, Heidi and I were both wearing 4 inch heels at the time, walking on cobblestone. Do not ask me about my feet the next morning) and went into this Irish bar, sang, danced, and then walked to a discoteca to do the same, where we met some authentic Spanish boys which whom to practice our Spanish with! So we had a late night, and then off to Toledo the next morning.

Toledo was absolutely beautiful! It is a walled city, we had to go in and walk around. We saw the Catedral, the famous painting of El Greco, and an old synagogue called Santa María la Blanca. It is amazing how these buildings are still standing after so many years...that is definitely something that is missing from the US, we don't have the amazing landmarks of history like Europe does.  We arrived at the hotel late that afternoon, but were very tired from having partied the night before that we decided to make it an early night. The next day, to Sevilla! Which will be the best part of our trip so far, but I need a whole other post to tell you about it :)

Adios amigos, ¡queremos a ustedes demasiado!

PS- I swear we will post pictures very very soon!